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Saturday, February 18, 2012

The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.

God help us when we are in the hands of humanist justice.

Where theft was an issue under the Mosaic covenant, there are two basic divisions: if the thief returns the property voluntarily:

Lev. 6:1-7  The LORD said to Moses:
  "If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving his neighbor about something entrusted to him or left in his care or stolen, or if he cheats him,
  or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin that people may do,
  when he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property must be found,
  or whatever it was he swore falsely about. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering.
  And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value.
  In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty."

The thief was not thrown into jail. He was required to make restitution + 20% of the value. (elsewhere, indentured servitude is prescribed for more heinous thievery.) Then the thief is to atone for his sin by making a sacrifice. All of these things serve to restore him to right standing with the victim and with God, as he has sinned against both.

This served as a model for criminal justice for millennia (however imperfectly implemented), until  the Quakers had a Real Good Idea. We should Make Criminals Think About What They Have Done. The Penitentiary was born. See the word "penitent" in the name? The miscreant is put in stir to consider his deeds and Feel Bad about them. He is given a Time Out. This serves as the model for dealing with criminals today, except that the criminals tend to Think About It, and Smile. Particularly the pervy ones.

So which is better, a system which punishes by requiring restitution, or one that is retributive, placing  miscreants in jail to learn ever better ways of being a miscreant, living at the expense of their victims? I recognise that this is about thieves; there are other crimes to be dealt with later on.
Me lovin' daughter gets it. She realises the inherent mercy of the much-maligned spanking. Done properly, a spanking is a disciplinary event, a point in time, bringing the child to book for his infraction, and teaching him the concept of Consequences. After the event, he is restored to good graces and loved up on. He is forgiven, and is not to be narrowly looked upon over the misdeed. It is Done.

Compare this with the modern "merciful" methods like "time out"  and "taking away of privileges", I see spanking as the winner. It happens, and it is done. The child is restored to the family, taught and forgiven. The solitary confinement and loss of privileges drags on and on for hours or even weeks, a continuous torture of punishment, continually under the ban, constantly reminded of their failure; a breeding-ground for bitterness.

Before the howls of "ABUSE" come spittling out of the mouths of those whose parents did not do it right, I am speaking of spanking with a paddle or wooden dowel, never the hand. The hand should be used for comforting. Your child is not a puppy, who needs to be whacked right then. Spanking is discipline, not punishment; teaching, not judicial revenge. Therefore, the spanking should not be done while angry. THAT is where abuse happens. Cool off, 'splain it to the child, spank 'em, then comfort them when they calm down. Forgive them verbally. That also means it is not brought up again. It is Over.

Wise use of discipline when they are children will help lessen the likelihood of their requiring multi-year timeouts when they are grown.


Doom said...

Oh, I agree. Now, my mother would punish while angry, so yeah, I've seen that. Still, I knew what the deal was about. She never struck without cause (if some causes were suspect). And, to be honest, I would rather my mother over or wrongly punish than that she never punished. I knew kids who were never touched. That is as unloving a thing a parent can do as anything else, maybe worse.

As for the Mosaic Law, I do wonder about rape or pedophilia? I would guess the perp was stoned to death. Then again, saying Jehova would get you killed too. There were flaws. But there was much to be appreciated in those laws, as memory serves. And knowledge. I don't know all of it, I think.

The Aardvark said...

Rape and such will be deealt with at a later time.

Taking the Lord's Name in vain was not the same as saying His name. The superstitions about saying "YHWH" did not develop until much later, perhaps even AD. Have to check on that.

It is good that you had a mother who was engaged in your life! So many kids were/are brought up in an emotionally sterile environment which by my lights is as abusive as beating a kid with a rubber hose.

The Aardvark said...

Doom, here is an interesting article by a "Messianic Jew" (I think they were called "CHristians" in the New Testament)..


Michael W said...

I rather liked the bit on the history of penitentiaries. One of those "good intention" stories that ultimately mess up the world. I've personally been a supporter of the Guilty being required to make restitution, and then letting the matter drop.

Oops . . . disciplining children. Insert sound of button being pushed. Praise God the moments were very few and far between, but there were times when Denise and I had to somewhat severe with Jeremiah. We were punished by having to hear people say that we had the most well-behaved child they ever encountered.

Jay Agan said...

While working at an unmentionable cut rate merchandise chain, a woman & child were in my checkout line. The kid, being unruly, got a swat. The mother looks at me in fear I might remonstrate with her or even (GASP!) report her. I just gave her the thumbs up.

By the way, Joan Taylor uses that line of the Bard in "Earth vs the Flying Saucers".